Immigration Is Great

America makes it difficult to immigrate legally.


Yikes, you really hate me!

Many of you, anyway, based on Twitter and Facebook comments posted after I argued immigration with Ann Coulter on my TV show.

"Move into an illegal-heavy neighborhood and get back to us!"

"Another libertarian who believes illegal invaders are good for our country. Madness."


Clearly, lots of Americans are mad about immigration. But we libertarians believe that people trapped in horrible countries deserve a chance at a better life and that free trade in labor, not just products, is a good thing.

Why would I think that when my Facebook "fans" tell me things like: "Most immigrants, legal & illegal, get food stamps & welfare"?

Because that's not true.

"Almost all welfare programs in the U.S. are limited to legal immigrants living here at least five years," points out Cato Institute policy analyst Alex Nowrasteh.

Of course, some immigrants cheat, many hospitals lose money treating undocumented people and immigrants' kids get free public schooling. On average, the lifetime fiscal impact of the average immigrant is negative $3,000, says the National Research Council.

But the NRC goes on to say that descendants of the immigrant make a positive fiscal contribution of $83,000.

That's a big win for America.

Even illegal immigration helps delay the bankruptcy of Social Security and Medicare. Young illegal workers pay into the system—but most don't collect. "Medicare and Social Security—the biggest welfare programs," says Nowrasteh. "Immigrants subsidize those programs massively."

Health policy journal Health Affairs says in 2009 immigrants contributed $13.8 billion more to the Medicare Trust Fund than they collected in benefits. In the same year, native-born Americans took out $30.9 billion more than they paid in.

Beyond the financial arguments, let's not forget that immigrants bring us new ideas. They invent more things than native-born Americans. Immigrants gave us Google, YouTube, blenders, ATMs, basketball, shopping malls, blue jeans, hot dogs and more.

Ann Coulter told me, "that was then, those were European immigrants." But now we admit "brown people" who are turning America into "a Third World hellhole."

Coulter says that the new immigrants don't assimilate the way Europeans did. Maybe that's true, but I pointed out that immigrants from Nigeria, Jamaica and Ghana are more likely to be employed than native-born Americans and twice as likely to get a college degree. "I don't believe it," answered Coulter.

She also argues that America admits too many immigrants, but how many is too many? Thirteen percent of America's population is now foreign born (down from 15 percent in 1915). Immigrants make up 27 percent of the population in Switzerland and Australia.

Of course, it would be good if all immigrants came here legally. But America makes that difficult.

The government awards 50,000 green cards by lottery, but in 2014, 11 million people applied, so the vast majority never get them.

Forbes says a computer programmer from India who wants to work in America legally must wait an average of 35 years. A Mexican teenager would have to wait 131 years. No wonder people give up on the legal approach and sneak in.

Donald Trump calls immigrants "criminals," and some are. We don't know how many because America doesn't know how many illegals are here. But a count of prisoners shows that more Americans are jailed than immigrants. Social Science Quarterly found "cities with greater growth in immigrant … populations … have steeper decreases in homicide and robbery rates."

Hard-core libertarians dominated my studio audience that day, and some booed Coulter (gently).

On Twitter, MissJitter responded: "White guilt is apparently alive & well in his audience."

Betty Orvis complained that I invited "a stacked audience of open border supporters. Real fair … not! … The elites in this country do not care one bit about the dire effects of illegal immigration. … I guess facts are 'racist.'"

But libertarian support for immigration is not about "elites" or "guilt." The facts show that immigration is mostly good.


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  1. Charge them a hefty tariff that they would pay smugglers anyway and they instantly become net contributors to the system before they even step foot in the country.

    1. — The government awards 50,000 green cards by lottery, but in 2014, 11 million people applied, so the vast majority never get them.

      Yeah – that’s what we need. A population expansion of 3% per year – plus all their offspring. Assumign 3 kids per 18-year generation, we triple the US population in 30 years.

      Just what we need – to have our Country look more like India and China.

  2. Great article!

  3. I really respect Stossel, but I’m still on the fence about illegal immigration. Coming from a Conservative background I’ve been swayed a lot by libertarian arguments about a great many things and immigration is no exception. Immigration, illegal or otherwise is a net benefit. No one can “steal” a job because workers don’t “own” jobs and an argument for the federal government coming in to protect jobs is an argument against free trade itself, and is no different than when labor unions do the same thing. Free trade always trumps protectionism in every way. Immigration in an of itself is not aggression or “invasion” as conservatives like to scream.


    The immigration debate is about politics. Not economics, or ethnicity or any really other peripheral factor. This is about the importation of solidly leftist voters in order to change the political landscape of America. If Mexico were full of free market Libertarian/Conservatives which way would the debate be going? Who would be arguing for open borders and who would be arguing for closing immigration and voter ID laws?

    And if economic leftism is aggression, and those immigrants are seeking to influence the political landscape to better enable the government to come after my wealth and kill me if I resist, isn’t that a form of direct aggression? Isn’t actually not so different from an actual invasion, even if it’s less direct?

    I don’t know. I have a lot of considering and musing to do about it still.

    1. You should get to know some illegal/legal Latinos I know, not the duchebag pundits and activists but guys working in construction. Many hate taxes, are free marketers and are socially conservative. They are trying to escape leftist hell holes down south not bring them here. They want the government off their back and that is why they flock to the left; not because they agree with their politics in whole but because they are thrust-ed towards them due to conservatives wanting to steal their property and lively hood. They vote for the guy who is going to screw them less.

    2. Bryan Caplan argues they have very low participation rates in politics compared to native born, so even if what you said is true – and I am not sure it is – there’s not a lot of evidence that we need to be very worried about it.

      And, he says, there are more humane ways to deal with it, anyway, like letting people work and making naturalization more difficult (not advocating this, but it’s better than keeping them out entirely).

    3. Yeah, I am in the same boat on this. I’m extremely open to some of the libertarian arguments on this issue, but the solutions seem nebulous at best.

      I’ve recently moved from a lot of more dogmatic, conservative positions on a variety of issues to libertarian. Even after watching a few of Stossel’s programs on immigration, I still feel torn on the subject. The libertarian arguments seem idealist, and something about the net contribution of 80,000 between two generations seems difficult to determine. In any case, the conservative arguments involve a great deal of fear-mongering, but these libertarian arguments sometimes seem a bit removed from reality.

      BTW, hilariously aggressive reaction to this article on TownHall…

      1. I understand your dilemma, but many of the economic arguments are just as good as the moral ones and debunk or at least cast serious doubt on talking points about job competition and wage suppression.

        Ann Coulter’s assimilation argument does not resonate with me because she paints Europeans with a broad brush, as though poor Irish, southern Italian, and eastern European peasants had these great civil societies that valued freedom and that’s why they assimilated well. I would disagree.

        1. Of course, after we let those groups in, we essentially shut down immigration for 40 yrs…

    4. Opposition to immigration requires a massive police force (board patrol / ICE), a massive surveillance program (random stop checks around the borders), a sprawling detention system (prisons for migrants), and an unprecedentedly huge work registration program (e-verify, required on all Americans). The restrictionists are cheering multi-billion budgets and massive expansions in bureaucracy and policing, including intrusion into 100% of business hiring decisions (requiring all employees to pass a background check system that has a noticeable error rate of falsely calling Americans illegal).

      In other words, advocating small-government while also advocating strong measures to deport immigrants is self-defeating. You can have a small government, or you can throw out all the stops to defeat immigration, but you can’t have both.

      1. I read a good deal of the CATO debunking of the claims about E-Verify’s success rate, and generally agree based on limited-government principles that the current immigration system doesn’t make any sense. The part that is more difficult to accept is the statistical analysis regarding the financial burdens. I know (through this article and an episode Stossel did on immigration) that Nowastreh and CATO make a claim about the net financial gains of two generations being about $80,000. While most of the evidence about illegal immigrants using welfare etc. seem to be anecdotal rather than statistical, I am still hesitant to entirely dismiss the possibility. It’s confusing to me, because I would assume that things of that nature may be hard to track statistically.

      2. The government was still pretty small when the Chinese Exclusion Act was signed into law in 1882. Geography has a lot more to do with making immigration control impractical in modern America than scope of government. Not everybody arrives at a sea port ready to be inoculated, given an Anglicized name, and move into an ethnic ghetto anymore.

        Also, prisons aren’t a consideration for migrants unless they are convicted of a secondary crime – the penalty for border jumping is deportation, not imprisonment.

        1. PM – The federal government did expand its powers and scope in order to enforce the law, though. When people began smuggling Chinese immigrants into the United States, the federal government cracked down by demanding lawful Chinese residents carry papers with them at all times. Immigration officials investigated businesses, boarding houses, mines – you name it – to look for illegal Chinese immigrants.

          So while the government was still “small,” these are all the hallmarks of increasingly intrusive federal and state government that interferes in private and economic matters.

          Even if I agreed, though, that we could maintain a small government while strongly regulating immigration, you’re right that geography makes that difficult or impossible. So, there really isn’t a lot of debate here. We’d need a large, powerful apparatus to do the job, and I can’t see a way of making that square with even very rudimentary libertarian principles.

          1. I wasn’t saying that’s necessarily the best way to do it, just that the costs and resources involved in an enforcement scheme don’t necessarily have to be very expensive or large in order to do their intended job. Like our “defense” budget, a lot of the money spent on our “domestic security” programs is going on $50,000 toilet seats and $100,000 hammers rather than actual costs of enforcement.

            FWIW, I’m a minarchist, not an anarchist. I’m not for “open immigration” in the Reason/libertopian sense. I think defense is a legitimate function of government, and that making sure nobody is coming over the border to kill me or start a pandemic is within that function, the consequences to freedom of movement notwithstanding.

            1. (Which isn’t to say I support our current system, which is an abortion. But I fail the Reason purity test)

            2. I didn’t assume you were an anarchist or a perfect libertarian. I was just saying that any way you slice it, in order to enforce immigration laws that largely restrict the number of people who would like to immigrate, you need a government that would be willing to, at the very least, engage in quite a bit of regulation of the private sector and the border (for all the logistical reasons you mentioned). This would be expensive and require more bureaucracy than we’d probably like, but also would just violate some very basic libertarian principles, like freer markets, limited government, freedom of movement (as you said – and not just for immigrants, but also Americans who get caught up in immigration laws).

              I don’t see immigration inherently as a legitimate function, but even so we could have something close to completely open borders while still doing what you ask.

              Anything that tells people where they can or can’t live, anything that tells people they’re not allowed to trade with foreigners – well, I just can’t see that as legitimate. Monitoring immigration may be called for, but limiting immigration in terms of economic status, job status, family relationships, and lottery don’t flow logically from the argument that we need some way of processing people to protect against a relatively small number of murderers or contagious disease spreaders. One way we could better do that is if reformed immigration laws since right now we effectively have black market immigration.

        2. The mere act of passing a law and maybe setting a guy at the docks to turn away ships is a pretty basic system, but no immigration restrictionists today are happy at stopping there. They want technology, troops, walls, verifications, and myriad laws against US citizens, all focused on their purpose. In fact, the restrictionists so hate the idea that a few border agents and a formal ban on immigration are sufficient, they won’t consent to any immigration reform until far more is done about the border. They are clamoring for big government.

          There are tens of thousands immigrants sitting in over a dozen detention centers, which is functionally a prison system. In some cases, they are waiting to be deported, while others are waiting for their asylum appeals or other determinations. The US maintains a special prison system to house these inmates, even though they are not technically considered prisoners or convicts.

      3. How about paring back to a FREE government that lets people eat, drink and smoke what they like and keep the money they earn? If Amerikkka were to set THAT example the heathens would emulate those policies. Today they emulate superstitious, corrupt, murdering, prohibitionist looters thinking these must me kewl policies because americanos–whose T-shirts they copy–are deliberately voting in politicians who enforce those exact laws. Add to that the plain fact that exported gringo laws destroy what little freedom they might otherwise enjoy in their own countries, just as they do here. By making foreign countries violent and unlivable, fanatical bigots leave foreigners no choice but to leave their homes.

    5. Cato has done the study: countries with large populations of immigrants in 1990 were more not less economically free in 2011. The ‘solidly leftist voting block’ is a myth, but the nativists may well drive these people into the hands of the Dems.

      1. I can’t think of a single index of economic or political freedom in which the United States has scored higher in 2011 than 1990.

        Also, every ethnic minority in the country breaks greater than 50% Democratic, to the extent that they vote (and to the extent that that even means anything). Hispanics as a group are disproportionately more likely to say they think the government should be bigger and doing more things, according to Pew. They are also less likely to support legalizing marijuana and significantly less supportive of gun rights. “They’re all devout Catholic anarcho-capitalist farm hands!” is also a myth. Also, it’s considered gauche to tell other countries how they should shape their domestic policies, especially when you’re clueless.

      2. Yes, that is my fear, too. Canada’s rightist parties have done much better in regards to immigrants. That said, American media and culture are pretty effective at labeling the GOP as “racist.”

        Look at the southern governors and senators of the GOP. There sure are a lot of brown people for a party of racist voters.

        Does Canada have the same issue with right-leaning parties being labeled racist?

        1. Doesn’t every country have this problem? I hear from the U.K. all the time how anyone not left-leaning is a racist.

    6. “Immigration, illegal or otherwise is a net benefit. ”

      Scale is everything. Drinking a certain amount of water a day is vital for survival.
      Being fully immersed in water for 15 minutes will kill you.

      There’s some right amount of immigration and some immigrants are more valuable than others. Almost any number of German engineers will be a net benefit. That this number of socialist Mexicans is good for us is doubtful. It doesn’t pass the sniff test.

      1. Who determines what the critical mass is, how do we know they’re right, and could we substitute free-market solutions instead of statist ones?

        1. We currently have an established government system that certainly believes that immigration laws are within Federal legislative prerogatives. We can either work with that or rail at the unfairness of the universe. Your choice.

          What’s the right number? I don’t know. I suggest starting at zero and working up until we find it.

          Could we substitute free market solutions instead of statist ones? No, not with the nation as currently formulated as a liberal welfare state. Free market actors would be only too happy to socialize the costs, as they do in so many other arenas.

          1. I suggest starting at 11 million and working down from there. Oh, wait. The Feds couldn’t possibly handle that kind of workload…

    7. I believe fully in legal immigration. I’m good with sending illegal immigrants right back where they came from. I’ve stood witness to 4 foreigners becoming citizens who came the legal way. People won’t fix their own broken nations by coming here illegally and taking the jobs we pay people not to do. If we just have open borders we aren’t a nation, we’re just some occupied property between Canada and Mexico.

      As far as Social Security goes it’s also more people taking at the other end. Even with millions of illegals paying in we’ve got to pay back those IOU’s to pay benefits, and that money and the interest due have to be paid with non-SSI taxes. A ponzi scheme with more players can only last a little longer before it collapses. Immigrants, legal or no, are not going to save SSI.

  4. Let’s call a spade a freak’n shovel: Those people streaming in from the southern border, on balance, hail Che Guevara, Daniel Ortega and the Shining Path. They are a peasant class that have no problem with government running everything.

    This is NOT a freedom and liberty crowd. Not even close.

    1. I doubt European and Asian immigrants are a freedom and liberty crowd, Alger. If you want to shut off immigration because of immigrants’ political views, then be consistent.

      1. East Europeans, maybe.

        Some Asians. There are Chinese who despise the communist party…and then there are the sons and daughters of party officials for whom America is their bolthole.

      2. Indeed. Turn all the knobs to zero. Work up from there. That’s Coulter’s suggestion.

        1. Indeed. Starting at zero is a sure way to *increase* illegal immigration, not decrease it.

          1. I suppose, if you also change nothing else about our border and immigration law enforcement. Illegal immigration is as high as it is because the powers that be don’t want to stop it, don’t want to police the borders and don’t want to enforce immigration law.

    2. Those people streaming in from the southern border, on balance, hail Che Guevara, Daniel Ortega and the Shining Path

      Thanks for the laugh. But seriously look around. Most of those peasants are too busy working their ass off to send money back home to give a shit about Che et al. It is American-born college students who are the real fans.

      1. Cesar Chavez wasn’t organizing American-born college students into the last remaining bastion of the labor coalition. Just sayin’.

        1. Cesar Chavez was one of the biggest anti-immigrant activist of the past 50 years. He lobbied for the end of the guest worker program and despised immigrants because they crossed his picket line.

          1. True, as was the policy position of all unions at that time. It’s only been since the turn of this century that the unions dropped their restrictionist rhetoric as their membership plummeted, particularly among the educated, and they decided semi-literate, poorly educated farm workers might be a good way to shore things up. The point, however, was that “the peasants don’t give a shit about Che because they’re too busy busting ass” isn’t entirely true. A good many were happy to join the proletarian revolution as sold to them by American unions (and considering their circumstances it’s hard to blame them).

            1. Big labor only supports reform for the 11 million already here, but they strictly oppose any guest worker program. They were successful killing several proposals when Obama had congress and the stupid party took all the blame. It’s no surprise why Bernie opposes a guest worker program.

          2. The Dog Whisperer is a great example of an immigration success story, and I wish you people would stop smearing immigrants and stay on topic.

            1. Not the same guy, assuming you’re not joking.

      2. They might like the idea of free healthcare or a check in the mail.

        But they probably don’t have a political philosophy.*

        Also, they are involved in industries with some amount of government regulation. They may not deal with it yet, but I suspect the reason so many white male blue collar voters vote Republican is because they deal with the government on job sites.

        Nothing like a good up close view of the bureaucrat hassling you to send you off your love of government.

        I wonder how many Hispanic small business owners become small government types.

        *Which really applies to most people.

    3. Not sure why Ortega partisans would be fleeing Nicaragua if they’re such fans. Shining Path? So Mexicans and Hondurans and Guatemalans are adherents of a violent Peruvian Maoist militia? Makes as much sense as claiming Italian immigrants are all adherents of Sinn Fein or Baader-Meinhof.

      I don’t see why this argument wouldn’t apply to US citizens. If you want an ideological litmus for US residence, and admiration for Che Guevara is disqualifying, then you should start with the numerous Americans. Unlike immigrants, who are mostly impoverished and mostly lack the political clout (and sometimes the language skills) to effect political change, US-born citizens can much more easily influence government action.

      1. “I don’t see why this argument wouldn’t apply to US citizens. If you want an ideological litmus for US residence, and admiration for Che Guevara is disqualifying, then you should start with the numerous Americans.”

        Because we have no means of doing that. We do however have the means of determining who is allowed to become a new citizen and who isn’t, and I think political affiliation is highly relevant. That it’s not to a majority of libertarians indicates to me that they really are more egalitarian than libertarian.

    4. Stop lying.

    5. “They are a peasant class that have no problem with government running everything.”

      This is what I don’t get with the libertarians that promote illegals and illegal immigration as good. They aren’t going to vote libertarian and neither will their children and their children’s children. Stop shooting yourselves in the foot.

      1. Illegal immigrants are going to vote? Huh?

        My father’s grandparents were Sicilian immigrants. His grandfather lent support to Mussolini and was in the mob that fueled Democratic machine politics where he lived.

        My dad is an atheist who votes Republican and thinks Ronald Reagan was the greatest man who ever lived.

        I don’t buy that their children and children’s children are just DOOMED FOREVER to have an old-world mentality. You are overstating your case. Pull it back a little.

        1. Your father’s grandparents were European. People of European ancestry have a track record of coming around to eventually supporting capitalism in the majority. Mestizos do not yet. Thus mass immigration of Mestizos will likely result in the further erosion of capitalism and implementation of socialism.

      2. It’s called white guilt. Libertarians aren’t immune to it.

  5. “Almost all welfare programs in the U.S. are limited to legal immigrants living here at least five years,” points out Cato Institute policy analyst Alex Nowrasteh.

    A completely misleading statement. “Technically” that may be the law, but in actuality that law is broken every day by the majority of illegals, and that is sooo easy to prove. Come to Texas and I’ll introduce you to Mexicans who will tell you how they do it. Stossel isn’t being honest here. I’m disappointed.

    1. Your anecdotal evidence is not a good rebuttal to his argument. Do you have any scholarly evidence that a “majority of illegals” are receiving welfare, in Texas or anywhere else?

      1. Do you even need to ask? These people are always FOS.

      2. I find it amazing that on a libertarian site, those who say that the government that provides welfare suddenly becomes hyper efficient without any waste, scrupulously cracking down on the cheaters…well….

        Note: Not personally against immigration, but I just can’t stand people believing the claims that those on welfare get “cut off”

        Also, for legal immigrants they are supposed to sign an affidavit of support along with a sponsor so they can never get welfare, and if they do the sponsor has to pay it back.

        Does anyone think that ever happens?…..-1.1794172

        Also, things like this suggest welfare is possible:

        How are you using cash welfare if you are not a citizen and don’t have a green card? (Maybe they mean from a foreign government?

        Nope…see this section:

        “What if I used Medicaid, Healthy options, children’s health, prenatal care, WIC, food assistance or other non-cash programs?
        Using Medicaid can only be a problem if you are in a nursing home or other long-term care. None of those other non-cash programs will cause a public charge problem.”


        1. If you want another example of where government rules are not followed for these programs:


          I seriously cannot believe people here believe the US government strictly enforces welfare rules. Those are just for show. What do you think ACORN does all day but coach people on how to avoid these?

        2. Also, for legal immigrants they are supposed to sign an affidavit of support along with a sponsor so they can never get welfare, and if they do the sponsor has to pay it back.

          Does anyone think that ever happens?

          The Tsarnaev bros, for one prominent example, were both on public assistance.

          The thing is, programs like SNAP and Medicaid are actually administered at the state level, so state policy determines a lot in the way that eligibility rules are enforced. States also administer their own non-federal welfare programs as well (yes, Virginia, TANF/SNAP/Medicaid isn’t the be all and end all of “welfare” in America), and the eligibility requirements for those vary considerably. In some states, it is specifically not legal to inquire as to immigration status when determining eligibility for state assistance.

          Also, the bulk of household aid that goes to illegal/undocumented/whateverthefucky immigrants is technically aid to children. So no, most illegal/undocumented/whateverthefuck immigrants do not receive direct (federal) welfare benefits. But money is fungible.

        3. Harun, that’s a lovely strawman you constructed. Where did I argue that the government is efficient or is good at cracking down on waste? I merely critique BulletGibson for making a hyperbolic statement about how a majority are cheating the welfare state and asked he or she to provide some evidence about how widespread cheating actually is.

          And we were talking about ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS, and now you’re pivoting over to legal immigrants. I never disputed anything about legal immigrants.

  6. ” “I don’t believe it,” answered Coulter.”

    Read: I’ve made up my mind, don’t confuse me with the facts.

    “Ann Coulter told me, “that was then, those were European immigrants.” But now we admit “brown people” who are turning America into “a Third World hellhole.” ”

    Read: I don’t mind immigrants when they look like me! I just don’t like immigrants who DON’T look like me.

  7. First off, legal immigration is not difficult. I know people who have gotten green cards for the dumbest things, like skydiving… Yes, skydiving…

    Secondly, opening the border without process, is not only stupid, it’s dangerous. People from countries that are corrupt, change the culture towards corruption. Chinese people, whom I know, have tried to pay off police for parking tickets, etc. When I lived in Hawaii, Filipino immigrant construction workers took bribes to use government money to move highway off ramps.

    Also, companies hiring illegal immigrants get an unfair advantage over companies that are law abiding. Hiring illegals stagnates wages…if you can pay someone 4 dollars an hour you won’t raise wages to hire legal workers OR develop automated systems to do the work.

    It is ok… I am an engineer and I have good reason to believe that none of you will have a job soon. Automated information systems will perform analysis that will take over accountants, financial analysts, HR personnel, and other such jobs. Fast food workers will be thrown out on their butts as an automated machine will cook a burger free of spit, nasty worker’s hands, and sass. Waitresses will not take orders because people will use screens to place orders.

    If you are not a programmer, engineer, technician, or medical worker, I would be very scared. Look for that “mincome” check to come in the mail.

    1. The jobs you listed at the end have some of the higher percentages of foreign born, by the way.

      But you’re making a strawman. You can have more open borders and a “process.” Stossel’ argument was “immigration is better than you think it is.

      To be clear, though, your position is that we need economic protectionism because, in your doomsday scenario, none of us will have jobs.

      And your defense of the immigration laws now is you know someone who immigrated easily. Oh, well, if you know someone…

    2. It is incredibly difficult to immigrate legally. If you know somebody with special and unique skills, and who has money already, they tend to sail through (mostly actors, athletes, etc.). But for people who are uneducated and poor, simply being a hard worker is not grounds to get in. For the vast majority of the world, there is no “line” to get in. There’s a token lottery and otherwise nothing legal.

  8. “Move into an illegal heavy neighborhood…”

    Tacos!!! All the time!!!

  9. I can’t watch Stossel’s show but I assume he kicked Coulter’s ass. We need to confront and humiliate these idiots.

  10. When I lived in Germany, I had a Bulgarian girlfriend who was getting her PhD in botany (specifically how to improve growing). She was offered several teaching gigs in the US and Canada. The US process required about two years and even then, she was beholden to the university. (Even if we got married, her visa was dependent upon the university and we would have to reapply for her to stay.) The Canadian process required ONE MONTH and she could begin working on Canadian citizenship right away as well as access to healthcare and other perks. In fact, Canada encouraged her to take advantage of all of the entitlements Canada had.
    Obviously, Canada thought that bringing in a 32 year-old single woman with a PhD to teach better growing techniques would make its country stronger.
    The US system is certainly flawed in many ways including the indentured slavery visa program, the lottery system, but worst, so many bad ideas are continued through racism, fear and the idea that closed markets are better.

    1. Our relative openness to immigration is one reason our economy is doing better than America’s.

      1. You’re officially in a recession, dumbfuck.

      2. Meanwhile, I need special permission to simply visit Canada on a fishing trip because I had a DWI 15 years ago…

        I love Canadians telling us about immigration…

        1. You know, because I obey the law!

    2. Canada encouraged her to take advantage of all of the entitlements Canada had.

      Yay freedom!

      Canada also has 1/10th of the US population and doesn’t share a 1500 mile land border with an unstable socialist narco state with a lot of desperate people. When the only people allowed to come in across an ocean are 32 year old PhD students from culturally homogeneous countries, it’s easier to accommodate them with such benefits (if that’s your thing). It’s kind of like how the Swedish model works so well… in Sweden.

  11. The government awards 50,000 green cards by lottery, but in 2014, 11 million people applied, so the vast majority never get them.

    Just for the sake of clarity, the visa lottery represents around 5% of the total annual legal immigration cap (without any context it makes it seem as if 50,000 is the total number of immigrants permitted in a year; in fact, it’s around a million). It is, indeed, the only option available if you are ill-educated, low-skilled, and don’t have a family sponsor though. The bulk of our legal immigration is in the form of family unification and skills-based employer sponsorship. If you don’t have a family sponsor or you’re not educated and relatively well off, you’re basically not getting in.

  12. I spent a couple thousand dollars and probably a hundred hours or so to get my wife into the US..she’s only the wife and and mother to US citizens. So, yes, the system needs major reform.

    I am for amnesty, but I get ticked off when tricks are played, like Obama saying “they will pay their back taxes.” I immediately something was up. sure enough, most illegals would get EITC and child tax credits so they’d be getting a check instead of paying anything.

    I wouldn’t even mind that if they would be charged all the fees I had to pay, but you know that they will all be waived: hardship cases all of them.

  13. But we libertarians believe that people trapped in horrible countries deserve a chance at a better life and that free trade in labor, not just products, is a good thing.

    There is a huge… HUGE… difference between labor and products.

    First, there is absolutely no such thing as “free trade” of labor. In a trade, I give you something, meaning you take it from me and it is no longer in my possession, and you give me something in exchange and it is no longer in your possession. Labor cannot be given like that. Labor must be performed. To say that I exchange or trade my labor for your compensation is a complete misnomer. Truly, what I am trading are the results of my labor.

    Second, goods (raw materials, intermediate products, and finished products) are, generally, allocated according to the market demand for them. Generally speaking, someone in need of something contacts someone else to supply it. Generally, producers allocate their production according to their forecasted demand, ideally avoiding excessive over-production resulting in a surplus that may well be wasted.

    This supply and demand allocation mechanism, for the most part, avoids excessive surpluses or shortages of goods in any given market. It also minimizes the production of goods that have little to no market demand anywhere [a la liberal arts degrees in Art Appreciation].


    1. [continued from above]

      People, however, are not goods. They may or may not be laborers and their skill sets are generally not driven by market demand. Labor production (i.e.: Trade Schools, Colleges, Universities, etc) do not take orders for particular labor goods (i.e.: skill sets & knowledge bases) and then allocate raw materials (i.e.: students) to the appropriate production lines to meet the demand(s) like manufacturing plants. Rather, for the most part, the students decide, for any number of reasons of which market demand is rarely a consideration, what they will study.

      Labor is the work of people. By and large, people choose what kind of work they want to do for a variety of reasons, but rarely is market demand one of them. Furthermore, people, as laborers, rarely move to an area based upon the market demand for their skills. People tend to choose where they live for a variety of reasons, and market demand is not often one of them.

      Until “labor” is performed by labor-bots that are manufactured and allocated according to the market demand for workers, “trade” of labor is not analogous to trade of goods.

      Furthermore, immigration “imports” people not “labor”. And not all of those people will be laborers. Focusing on the labor element of immigration is missing the forest for a few trees.

  14. Coulter says that the new immigrants don’t assimilate the way Europeans did. Maybe that’s true, but I pointed out that immigrants from Nigeria, Jamaica and Ghana are more likely to be employed than native-born Americans and twice as likely to get a college degree. “I don’t believe it,” answered Coulter.

    Honestly, I’m with Coulter on this. I’m inherently suspicious of supporting statistics like that, as is Coulter. Too often you dig in and find that they’re cherry-picked or carefully crafted in a way so as to hide facts that don’t support the narrative.

    Virtually every time I’ve gone through the hours of work it usually requires to get down to the original source data for things like this, I’m appalled at the methodology and the way the “studies” were constructed.

    1. One hundred years ago, white Americans didn’t think all Europeans were capable of assimilation. They thought southern Italians were less industrious and intelligent than northern Italians, that Greeks were just… awful. Indolent, stupid. Swarthier, non-Protestants of Europe just couldn’t ever be real Americans – not in character, not in spirit, not in work.

      And it’s easy to see why they felt that way. These immigrants were so poor in most cases. They looked and dressed strangely. They were from poor and corrupt places that didn’t speak English. They piled into cities and worked low- and semi-skilled jobs, lived 10 to a tenement. There was no way, anyone thought, that these people could ever be like us.

      So when Ann Coulter today with the benefit of historical hindsight conflates all Europeans like they’re more or less all the same, I have to remember that very few people even 100 years ago thought that was true, and those people argued for quotas on those immigrants. Only today after 100 years do we think that lump Europeans together.

      1. All these fears of cultural assimilation are overblown. Latinos intermarry at higher rates than other groups and eventually end up becoming more conservative in their politics.

        1. And the overwhelming majority of the 2nd generation speak English.

      2. And before that, we had Benjamin Franklin bitching about German-speaking immigrants who weren’t assimilating.

        And we tried to stop the Chinese and other asians from coming over. Nowadays, most people who worry about the “brown hordes” don’t include east asia in their concerns at all.

      3. I weary of arguing with open borders Libertarians. Yes, your ideals are excellent in a perfect world. Three points:

        1. We don’t live in a Libertarian nation, we live in a welfare state. A libertarian, open-borders immigration policy on top of a modern welfare state is a recipe for disaster. Get rid of the welfare state, then I’ll entertain your open borders ideals.
        2. The welfare state didn’t exist during the great waves of European immigration.
        3. Given that the welfare state does exist, leaving low-skilled and unsuccessful immigrants fewer incentives to return home, it’s lunacy to think you will move further toward the Libertarian state you want by importing a peasant population raised on hundreds of years of collectivism. The Democrats are not idiots and they know full well that they are importing Democratic voters. You are permanently dooming your hope for Libertarianism by supporting mass third-world immigration into a welfare state.

    2. Amen. Huge sums are behind the “studies” that show the “benefits.”
      Lobbying for increased immigration is big business. If immmigration were all that great, it wouldn’t need lobbyists.
      On the other hand, small sums from thousand of people go to NumberUSA etc. David Vs Goliath.

      1. People lobby because the government likes to stick its nose into everything and lobbyists want to control the outcomes as much as possible.

        You shouldn’t conflate force and attempts to mitigate the damage of force (lobbying) with proof that a law or policy is good. Whenever the government does anything, someone is going to try to influence it. That doesn’t tell us anything about the government action.

    3. Texas Comptroller Carol Keeton Strayhorn did a study in 2006 that showed that undocumented immigrants produced $1.58 billion in state revenues, cost $1.16 billion in state services they received, and cost local governments $1.44 billion in uncompensated health care costs and local law enforcement costs not paid for by the state.” A net loss of a little over one billion dollars. For Texas. That was for 2006, in boom times, in one state. (Special Reports, Carole Keeton Strayhorn, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts)

  15. You scoff at integration as being a big issue. It is a big one. A country that throws it’s culture and history down the toilet ceases to be the same country. We our bound by a culture, that is being western European and mainly Anglo-Saxon in origin. Our language is based off of that culture. Our laws are all based off of that culture. Our history is based off of that culture. Our culture and history is our nation.

    I don’t get why libertarians are so in favor of illegal immigration when at the same time they are in favor of property rights. Just as I have the right to throw a trespasser off of my land, we as Americans have the same right to throw off trespassers out of our country. As it’s our country, not theirs. We have rights that they do not. And it’s not like illegals or their children would ever vote for any libertarian ideas anyhow. Stop shooting yourselves and your country in the foot.

    1. So in your trespassing analogy, who owns the United States? The government? Because if I invite an illegal immigrant onto my property, he’s not trespassing there. If I invite one onto my property to employ him, he’s not trespassing there. If I invite him onto my property to sell him a good or service, he’s not trespassing there.

      So is your argument that the government (the sovereign) has a higher claim to my property rights than I do? Because in order for the analogy to work, in order for it to be trespassing in any sense, there needs to be a property owner. Who’s the property owner whose property rights apparently trump my own as an individual? The government? The collective?

      If you’re referencing me as the one “scoffing” at assimilation, I’m not. I’m making the point that 100 years ago, people we thought weren’t part of the white Protestant Anglo-Saxon culture (Eastern Europeans, Jews, southern Italians, Greeks, etc.) could never assimilate, and now that we can reflect on it, we can see that they did assimilate. We absorbed elements of their culture, too. Cultural exchange isn’t a one-way street. It’s mutually beneficial.

      1. The people as a whole owns the nation. The people, through the governemnt has determined ways an immigrant and/or non-citizen may enter our nation.

        Those people didn’t assimilate. Their children and children’s children did. And those people had a lot more relation to citizens than Mexicans have with Americans. It can be mutually beneficial. There is nothing beneficial for our nation that comes from illegals from Mexico. It benefits them solely.

        1. So, the collective owns the country. The collective gets to tell you what to do with your own property.

          You don’t believe in individual property rights. Understood.

          Swarthy southern Europeans have more in common with Americans because we imported millions of them. Mexico has been our neighbor for a very long time. They’re a product of European colonization like we are. Our countries trade. Why are they more different than us than people 5000 miles away by boat were?

          1. Are you a Libertarian or an Anarchist? Because a Libertarian understands that there area realms within which it is reasonable for people to act collectively.

            1. ^”are”, not “area”

            2. Libertarians believe in PRIVATE property rights, not the governments’ right to control everyone’s property. If a farmowner wants to hire an immigrant to work his fields, why should the state have the power to stop him?

              1. Does this immigrant expect me to pay for his child’s education?

              2. Does this immigrant expect me to pay for his child’s education?

              3. To add to what Lord at War says:
                Does the immigrant drive on public roads?
                Do his children use public education
                Does he get food stamps if you don’t pay him enough
                Does he get a driver’s license?
                Do the publicly-paid police protect him?
                Is he allowed to use public parks or the public library?

                We DON’T live in Libertarian utopia. We live in a modern welfare state.

                When we’re living in a Libertarian utopia, then you can talk to me about your absolute property rights.

    2. More than likely there is some money behind this article.
      Consider the rational for the Sierra Club abandoning its concern for population growth after receiving a substantial sum. Look up David Gelbaum and Carl Pope.

    3. Well said.

    4. Seems to me the culture that Patrick Henry endorsed was thrown down the toilet over a century ago. Only the vestiges of it keep These States an inch above the looter satrapies and murdering juntas of the rest of the world. During all that time all the laws were written by the Red Republicans and Soviet Democrats. While the rest of you are baffled by the simple concept of what is a right, I have been voting libertarian for 35 years and am damn proud of it. The only thing I am ashamed of is that “both” the US Inner Party and Outer Party are given over to national and international socialism, ordering folks around at gunpoint and shooting themselves in the foot. As long as you are sooooo committed to the xenophobic policies of the late German Christian dictator, why not do us a favor and shoot yourselves where he shot himself?

  16. Nothing has done more to diminish the quality of life for the middle class through higher housing (land) costs, competition for jobs, greater poverty, mortgage fraud, medicare fraud, crime, disease, cost of public schools, cost of college, depletion of resources, burden on the taxpayer and overall congestion than the increase of and change in population since 1965, driven almost entirely by immigration.

    Because we are overpopulated, millions of young people graduating this year will never be able to buy a home in the town where they were born. What sort of person wishes for that?

    The high price of housing is a major factor in poorer quality of life for the middle class and the poor. Population density is the main driver of the price of land, and thus the price of housing. High immigration is the main driver of population density.
    See, for example, Immigration and the revival of American Cities by Jacob L. Vigdor for the Americas Society/Council of the Americas and the Partnership for a New American Economy, in which he claims that more than 40 million immigrants currently in the united states have increased housing prices nationwide by $3.7 trillion. Or, get the population and housing price data for 1900 to 2010 from the Bureau of the Census and do your own analysis. Don’t forget that change in population leads change in price by ten or twenty years. (You won’t find many op-eds or studies on this politically incorrect subject).

    1. Re competition for jobs, note that companies such as Hewlett Packard have laid off thousands, but seek H1B visas for replacement.
      Re poverty, note that the USDA is advertising food stamps in Spanish, and that the US Census shows that Hispanics are disproportionate users of welfare (why are we importing poverty? Don’t we have enough of our own?) In Los Angeles County alone, with the $550 million for public safety and nearly $500 million for healthcare, the total cost for illegal immigrants to county taxpayers exceeds $1.6 billion dollars a year, according to LA County Supervisor Michael Antonovich.
      Re mortgage fraud, note the disproportionate number of immigrants involved.
      Re medicare fraud, note the disproportionate number of immigrants involved, as evidenced by the HHS OIG most wanted list, the fact that Glendale, California is the medicare fraud capitol of the US.

      1. Prohibition and the income tax brought abject poverty to America by 1930. Now all the American politicians I voted against busily export prohibition and tax looting to all these poorer nations. Meanwhile you were expecting to reap… wealth? Ann Coulter, True Christian? will tell you: He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind: and the fool shall be servant to the wise in heart.
        Je je je…

    2. I didn’t know that illegal immigrants were that influential at creating policy that caused all these problems. Thanks for the insight, know if we can only stop all Americans from fucking all of these problems will magically disappear.

  17. You’re kidding me right? You really believe in the wake of sanctuary cities and Obama amnesty that liberals are not giving illegals benefits? Friend of mine here in Arizona loses his job and is forced to apply for food stamps for his four children. For some reason one of his kids doesn’t have a social security number. The person who is doing his paperwork for benefits tells him, “No problem. We’ll just have the system generate one for her like we do the illegals.” Without shame or apology.

    I was in Wal Mart a year ago and the woman in line in front of me, speaking Spanish on her Iphone, in heels that cost more than i earn in a week, pulled her EBT card from her Coach purse. She loaded her items into an Escalade. This delusion that liberals have about these illegals not gaming the system is totally unrealistic. I have nothing against immigrants, few are native. But i am very big on the law being applied equally across the board rather than based on your value to the Democratic party.

  18. If the True Christian? zealot were right about latinos turning These States into a hellhole, it would, like her, be payback. As early as 1911 William Jennings Bryan toured South America preaching prohy-bitchin? to th’ poor dissolute uncovered craythers. Herbert Hoover made his “noble experiment” tour in 1928 explaining that President Monroe?s doctrine made brown noses US property. Nixon rattled stock markets with Operation Intercept and Reagan and George Holy War Bush turned Columbia into an occupied Confederacy–to this day–Mexico into gangland and drove the rest into Germanic inflation. The latest prohibition crisis triggered by George War Bush II has again brought poverty and America-hating to all countries in South America and Europe. It all goes to show that people get what their governments deserve.

    1. At least the America-haters are easy to spot.

  19. Oh, John. Don’t you know that ant-immigrationists are just sweating with fear? Mere facts won’t dissuade them!

  20. 15% foreign-born people in 1915 equals 15,000,000 out of approx. 100,000,000; while
    13% foreign-born people in 2015 equals 41,600,000 out of approx.320,000,000. When you use the actual numbers, everything starts looking bad.

  21. Every illegal immigrant is a criminal, by definition.
    We grant twenty times as many green cards, per year than Stossel claims – one million.
    How many “people trying to make a better life for themselves” should we allow?
    We can’t handle the ones we take in, legally, now.

    1. You are correct!…..when we ‘accept’, ‘sanction’ or ‘condone’ illegal immigration for ANY reason, we are undermining the rule of law and that diminishes America in numerous ways…..too many to go into here….what we do need is a rational guest worker program and more green card legal immigration; probably way more than the approximately 1 million yearly now occurring…just let them pay handsomely as almost every other country requires….

  22. — But we libertarians believe that people trapped in horrible countries deserve a chance at a better life and that free trade in labor, not just products, is a good thing.

    But that’s NOT what you get.

    Here’s a good explanation of what REALLY happens:
    immigration gumballs

    Throw open the borders to every person in the world who wants to come to America, and their standard of living may increase marginally – but what is certain is that America’s standard of living would crash. More, those in other countries should fix their own countries – not run away to take what someone else has built.

    I just don’t get this aspect of “libertarianism” (or Reason, for that matter). Why call for the destruction of America by flooding it with immigrants?

    1. America was built by immigrants. The idea that immigration would “destroy” America is antithetical to every ideal that has made America great. Visit the Statue of Liberty some time and read the inscription…

      1. Should have sent that fucking statue back to the French, and sent crappy poet Emma Lazarus along for the ride. I’m really tired of hearing about that wretched piece of political propaganda.

      2. Tell that to the Native Americans. Native Americans could have used some stricter immigration laws and border security.

        1. Not to mention a basic concept of private property rights

    2. All opening the borders indiscriminately to everyone does is allow those people to recreate those same nightmarish conditions here. How many people coming in actually agree with us about free market economics, or do they blame their problems on the very ideology we believe in & the people historically who created it?

  23. There’s a difference between immigration and secure borders. Everyone who doesn’t care about secure borders apparently would have no problem if ISIS and the entire population of China and North Korea and every other country in the world all walked across the border and demanded amnesty and free stuff and then in the next election all voted to turn the U.S. into an extension of their country.

  24. You can have open borders, or a welfare state, but you can’t have both.

    1. “Then just get rid of the welfare state!” – classic head in the sand libertarian response. As if this is actually doable as you’re constantly importing millions of more people who vote for it.

      1. Well said.

  25. Is there any limit to immigration ? Do you suggest we increase the Green card Lottery to accept 5 million per year ? Why not increase the Green card lottery if immigration is so beneficial ?

    Should we allow 10 million in per year instead of just 2 million immigrants per year ?

    Would Americans be better off with an additional 200 million Asians ? Another 300 million Africans ?

    I agree immigration has mostly benefited America, but we do need some limits. Instead of giving away 50,000 green cards via a lottery, we should sell green cards for $75,000 per year. Since we cannot accept all 11 million who apply, we should use free market approach to distribute 100,000 Green cards via an auction process. It would generate significant revenues each year and probably increase the quality of those obtaining green cards.

  26. Most illegal aliens get paid in cash. How can they “massively” support medicare and SS? If you work in Asian places, you’re just about guaranteed to get paid in cash, partly because the employees want to avoid countable income.

    If you grant them amnesty, then they’ll be able to collect 2,3 times what they put in. Just like native born Americans. Thus we come back to the whole issue concerning entitlement spending.

    I’ve seriously never heard of “young illegal immigrants” receiving regular paychecks. In the late 90’s some of my illegal friends worked at Morning Glory and Sushi places for 5 dollars an hour. Bartering was common in K-town. I suspect some “illegal aliens” are green card holders with SS numbers and those who overstay their visas.

  27. ‘Immigration’ in the broad sense is not inherently good or bad it *depends on the quality of the people immigrating*

  28. in California, almost a quarter of children with legal immigrant parents, and almost two-fifths of children with unauthorized parents, are poor. They don’t begin to pay enough in taxes to cover their costs. See The Urban Institute Washington, DC March 2007.
    In 2012, 51 percent of households headed by an immigrant (legal or illegal) reported that they used at least one welfare program during the year, compared to 30 percent of native households. Welfare in this study includes Medicaid and cash, food, and housing programs. Welfare use is high for both new arrivals and well-established immigrants. Of households headed by immigrants who have been in the country for more than two decades, 48 percent access welfare. ( Welfare Use by Immigrant and Native Households, An Analysis of Medicaid, Cash, Food, and Housing Programs by Steven A. Camarota September 2015

  29. I think that immigration is good for America. I think that there are a lot of people currently in the United States who are not not here legally but contribute positively to the fabric of the country. There needs to be a way to help these people earn their citizenship; however, doing this alone will only encourage more people to try and enter this country illegally. A path to citizenship needs to be coupled with some way to discourage illegal immigration from Mexico and other countries to the south. How to design and implement the means for discouragement is the difficult part. I don’t think a wall is feasible or cost effective, and yet I cannot think of many other ideas. If the the economies of Central American countries were robust, the need to immigrate would be reduced. The answer may lay in ways to contribute to economic growth in these countries. Unfortunately, the United States has not been able to successfully spur growth in downtrodden areas of America, so I don’t know how successful these ideas would be in other countries. It may be worth a try though.

  30. Public property is ONLY public for the citizens living there or people visiting. And Stossel should remember that when making his judgments on illegal immigration.

  31. As an immigrant myself i agree that immigration process should be made easier. Everyone moves to America because of the big opportunity it offers, but the trouble the immigrants have to go through to attain that or even get across the boader is outrageous. American is mostly populated on immigrants, our founders were immigrants. So the idea of immigration should be embraced.

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